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NorthernBandit / Burt K. Arthur / Blog

...Long Live Rock!

Why we do what we do...Part 2

Have you ever listened to any of your favorite Musicians...in interviews, talk about the why's and wherefores in the theory of their writing?

Some may think it boring perhaps...but in all things wonderment is what drives the creative soul.

I recently watched an interview with Jimmy Page where he went in introspective description on the making of Stairway To Heaven.

I will spare the details...you'll have to watch it yourself...the point though is about the depth of how an Artist thinks and quite honestly it enlightening to me for I am of that similar fabric.

Nothing is so simple as taking a breath of air...and in Music, Blues, Rock and the like...some will do their best to distort the values of the complex by turning conversations about such things into a mockery of the form just to create friction and intrigue but time comes when depth not fluff is what we all search for and the answers we seek sometimes just turn into more questions...

...so actually listening to Jimmy's explanations about the back ground, processes, his band mates, the place they recorded in, the soul of the whole thing is an amazing journey...takes on a whole new appreciation for the Art of Led Zeppelin.

Ok...I've gone off tangent a bit...this is more about me then you might imagine, because I too think very similar to the aforementioned.

As a Singer/Songwriter myself it is the background that matters as much as any finished creation. Without depth Art becomes only so much drivel...it can get easily dismissed.

Oh forsake the human soul...that I should be so conceded. I am but who I am and my importance is nil in the large scheme of things but for the here and now what I do does matters to me and so relatively speaking it matters.

Consequently and hopefully not on a bad note you might appreciate what I am going on about but...if that is incorrect...all I can do is say excuse me and wish for you a better day.

I love Rock Music incase you haven't figured that out...it is why I do what I do...for all the simplicity and complicated reasons...it is a means to an end with no end in sight...from a famous quote from one of my inspirations throughout the years, Pete Townshend...

"Rock is dead they say...Long Live Rock"

Here it is...Somewhere Out There Rock Version!

Well Howdy folks...

Beautiful day in the Great Pacific Northwest, the weather forecast...

Sunny with a lot of ROCK!

So I know I am jumping the gun but if you had a chance to give my new song a listen I have a feeling you'd be Rocking just like I was as I was recording it...a great fun track to play and record.

Not intentional probably more subconscious then I would admit...a bit of a take off in general sound from a Band I have admired all these years lynyrd Skynyrd.

Now if you listen to the Blues version which follows this track on Reverb Nation...you will catch the atmosphere of a Ozark Southern kind of tone...at least that was my intent. I believe I pulled it off but then y'all will be the judge of that aye?

I have always been attracted to the two guitar sound of the earlier Rock sounds and so in that tradition this is what I created to make the passages power through like an old Locomotive rolling down the rails...

The other aspect of the track that I feel very good about is the syncopated Bass and Snare Drum sound that developed as I was working it out and of course on the last three measures the Cow Bell...along with the Bee Hive Lead Guitar Slide...that closes the song out with gusto.

All in all I feel very good about this project and hope you have the chance to feel it too...as I had mentioned in previous writings, this idea of taking a Blues track and turning it into a Rock song isn't a new approach just an attempt by me to carry on some kind of tradition in Rock with my own material...

So I will let go for now but I do hope you can have a listen to both songs ( Same title ) 2013 version and 2015 version...

Thanx for staying tuned in.

Glory Day's

If you get a chance there is a song on BBM's( Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Gary Moore ) first LP titled 'Glory Days'. Today for me was a Glory Day!

In the world of music...ok Rock/Blues, there is little I vary from. Now that is my opinion, y'all will be the judge of that...but in my minds eye this is where everything I do comes from...

I have met some great peoples and musicians...most recently in a somewhat working relationship...by choice a Fellow named Victor Snow...

Victor has got his palate seeming uncluttered with any predetermine sound...He has great resources from his past but has stepped outside the box and been very creative and advent garde . I admire that but I have a tendency to stick to the ground work I am familiar with.

I will be honest I don't search out a lot of new music...I have become reclusive in that sense. Roger Waters recently made some comments on something similar to what I am saying...Eddie Van Halen has said similar things...

So for me I move forward through the veil of my favorite music sounds and memories and create from that base. Some might accuse me of plagiarism...I hope not because it is not as intentional as one might think. I don't copy anybody's material but in Rock and Roll...there is nothing new that has not been played before...it comes down to your personal signature and your effort/talent as to the somewhat authentic nature of what you do.

I do not profit in anyway monetarily...I do what I do as a free act of sharing with everyone. What I gain not including Money or gifts is the satisfaction of playing in my craft the way I enjoy...the way all musicians should have the opportunity to...it has always been about the emotion, energy, content, context...technic, revealing in the tradition of certain sounds and for me that has always been Rock.

As in like the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Blackfoot, The Outlaws, Foghat, Deep Purple, Humble Pie, Nazareth and so many more who's tradition of playing drew from earlier music in their early carriers...Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, Southwest Texas Boogie...Swamp Rock from Florida like in the instance of Muscle Shoals...everything from the old Bluesmen from the sharecropping days and days that brought the birth of a nation through suffering and the birth of Blues music and an honest direct approach to the struggles of everyday life...this is where my music comes from.

Out There Somewhere...is a song that developed from all these things to me. The original idea was me placing myself in that initial place of acoustic playing in open 'D' tuning...thinking about the Ozark Mountains...the slower way of life and nature all around...

Now this new development with 'Out There Somewhere' is a bit of Glory for me in another way...since I was very young in music I have always had an active mind...very visual in seeing my thoughts before me in a physical way...probably the one thing that pissed off a lot of my friends...and contemporaries and most likely the reason I am a soloist not a band member. I don't take no for an answer very easily. I am not always right...but when I know what I want I am a bit hard to recon with. I am sorry!

The song has come along very well...this evening I recorded the addition of a Tambourine and something I mentioned the other day that I would not say what it is...it will be a surprise. Glory Days indeed!

Somewhere out there!

So I worked the last couple of evenings ( an hour or so ) On the recording that I have been going on about...Out There Somewhere.

Initially I felt pretty good going into it but after getting the Rhythm Guitar and basic Drum track completed My Fostex recorder started to malfunction.

I can't tell you the exasperation I was feeling ( been here before ) when this kind of technical problem occurs...I literally see all my work go up in digital smoke because the machine has paid it dues and now rebels when I push the buttons too quickly.

But...I was able to complete that mission and begin to record the Bass Guitar but alas the ghost in the machine resurfaced and threatened to cause my demise...but fear not...I was able to complete the Bass track too and it sounds really good.

As I had started it out my thought was to create a bit of a swampy thing kind of like one of the songs off of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'TWENTY' LP and Rock it out as I had mentioned I would...well it is turning out the way I had hoped it would, very cool!

My next step is to either add the Slide Guitar I am thinking of...( similar to the slide in the original record ) which you can listen to here on my ReVerbNation channel or do some percussion work to shore up the rhythm tracks.

With crossed fingers and hope that the Fostex doesn't totally crash I would really like to see this one finished...I think you will like it too.

Nothing but good thoughts and positive reinforcement aye!

Rock and Roll!


About Bass Guitar...Bass Guitarist I am.

Something that I have had the opportunity to experience recording and producing my own music is the hands on working with all the eliment of the process. All my Bass Guitar tracks I record direct to the recorder. At least in this instance I can use the Bass Guitar control to adjust the tone more sucsessfully than if I were going through an Amp. Obviously I am doing 'Sound on Sound' recording which is quite different than recording a 'Live' group...so I have a bit more control and don't have to worry about microphone placement or room reflection, volumes and many other distractions...The coolest of the factors which some musicians sometimes overlook ( me included ) is that the controls of the instrument can give the texture of the sound so rich a flavor...The Jazz Bass has that capability...from low powerful tones to gritty and guitar like. Commonly I play traditionally by plucking the strings with my index, middle and ring figures... simular to Jack Bruce who later on mostly played with just his index figure...and like John Entwistle who like me occasionally plays with a pick, the aggressiveness of playing a more rythmic core sound can be achieved. I have alway's loved the look of the Gibson Basses and the low bottom end...and Hamer Basses with the inovative 8 and 12 string qualitys the Tom Petersson of Cheep Trick pioneered...but it seems that from the time I started leaning to play Bass back in the early 70's Fender Basses have alway been in the cards for me...My first Bass...a blue Fender Mustang 3/4 scale. I have from the beginning always used 'Rotosound Music Strings' Round wounds. The Best Bass Strings in the world. It is because of there Piano like tone and clarity.

Out There Somewhere...

The fruit doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Kind of a funny saying don't you think, there is like a fable somewhere in that line, you know something from Aesop's Tales but there is a point to what I am eluding to here...

When I start off writing a song and I say song because no matter what you begin with...lyric, guitar, bass guitar or what ever it usually comes out in a song.

So I had been talking to you about my reworking the song 'Out there Somewhere'...you have to give a listen.


...as I was saying, I love the old Blues sound but my soul does not desire to revel in the slow meandering pace for very long. When I wrote and produced this track I was in a mind set...though I don't know if my good friend Tom Bukowski realized it the line " Like two old souls just sitting on the porch " was me lamenting in my mind about him and I jamming...but less I digress further this song is kinda like history happening all over.

Referencing a time in the Sixties when Robert Johnson was taken into the depths of bands like "Cream" and his song Crossroads Blues was forged into the song 'Crossroads' we all know so well.

It is the forging of an older song with a slower tempo like the aforementioned that drives me to convert my Blues track into a more up tempo Rocker for the benefit of accelerating the energy to a more contemporary Blues Rock sound.

I am making progress...what I am doing is working out the arrangement. it is one of those things that takes sometime. If I hand nothing but hours to play it would be done but I balance this between being in my family, working a full time professional automotive job and managing a life long affliction, Type one diabetes.

Not to fear...I am in good health!

Life is full I will admit and at times even though I feel I have a spare hour or two I am consumed...in a good way.

I will keep you posted as to my progress...currently I am just working on the electric rhythm guitar sequence...it will be the basis, foundation for the rest of the recording.

I am excited about the prospects of the final production...not a complicated song...the kind I like a Rock song...like the kind Duane Allman would refer to...

You know the old saying..."The Blues had a baby and Rock was born...

There is a new babe coming soon!


...and a mighty fine day to you all...

Some might call me cheep, that I am a hold out.

It is not so.

I have had minimal success on ReverbNation, SoundCloud, Jango and FaceBook because I do not buy into the "Promote Yourself" by feeding the machine dollar bills to gain access to "Likes" and false ambitions.

Besides...I am old in a market that require youth to drive the wheels of the music industry...

It is for me, like a painter or Artist...a means to drape my songs over a medium that I can share with all of you.

I have no Pie in the Sky dreams of making it because I am doing it.

All I can say is I am happy with my desire in music and thankful that you care to show your appreciation from time to time.

As Jim Dandy of Black Oak Arkansas used to say...

Keep the faith!


What you don't know...

A person goes throughout their life in a variety of phases...we all try to accomplish some goal of the soul, for the good and betterment of our being...and yet some choose other things to perpetuate a reason to live or die by.

Who is to say that in your own thinking you are wrong to believe in your path to this end...

Music is such a basic yet lofty plain to navigate that it is at time with great difficulty to feel worthy because of the loneliness artful people go through.

Some might say that is a dreamers dream will take you down the road to ruin, squashing your confidence and sets yourself up for disappointment, but alas...we are but mortal human beings, try that we may to be honest and truthful, the result usually comes back in negative ambition because of the desire to be what we want not what is.

Be careful when you admit you want the truth...usually we have great difficulty 'handling the truth' but if you know your being and you treat yourself honestly...there will be peace in your quest.

The lyric 'It's only Rock and Roll...but I like it' by The Rolling Stones sums up a lot about the quest to be a musician and to play and perform or record music...but nothing in life is ever that easy or simple...1st we have to deal with ourselves and then at the same time deal with those who are and aren't around us. Some serious challenges for sure.

In a recent song I posted 'Come what May' a line in the song...'No one knows the pain as it grows, all anyone can do in try again' rings so true at times seams so deliberate. Our lessons are so many.

Have faith in your quest...it is not for naught. The challenge is to relax, realize what you have and what you can share and find a balance to continue on as in life and music.

I recently read a saying...and it rings true...

"some say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full...the glass is refillable"

Good Luck!

For those with the need to know...

As far as guitar players are concerned ( me Specifically ) really there are only a hand full of electric guitars one might contemplate playing or owning.

It comes down to your style...what genre and soul your music should have.

I won't go on about the other guitars, they are all great! What I will go on about is the texture I look for when creating that truly original kind of sound that you find in the realm of Blues/Rock...British/Southern Americana style.

Some songs just go better with Gibson Les Pauls...some with Fender Stratocasters and some with a blend of both....

Jimi Hendrix set a lot of the standards we all enjoy to day...so did Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robin Trower. Mostly Strat players...something about the way the guitar delivers it's tone from the long string length and the single coil tone with an Alder or Ash body...and of course the playing style.

Mostly here though I will say that those that I mentioned about were artists that use a Wah Wah pedal for effect on a rare number of songs...not abused but used with the greatest of respect for their songs and voice.

So without further ado here is my point. This song represents a lot of what I have just talked about...respect mostly for the effect and the benefit of the song...making and exclamation, carrying a line or crying like the drawn out Steam Locomotives whistle down a lonely rail line...

For your Rockin listening pleasure I hope you will enjoy! 'Good Luck'


"Out There Somewhere" Written 3/30/2013 By: Burt K. Arthur/NorthernBanduitr

Now on ReverbNation.com

So I have been musing about me, my ever emerging role in music, at least the short term view I have of myself and the validity of what I do ( got to be inside my head to be part of the conversation ).

Recently read some articles about The Blues...and thinking back in those early days for me which was the era of Blues and Rock...65-78...

Modern players taken the charge of the old guard...converting those old Blues songs from Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, Freddy, BB, and Albert King and guy's like John Mayall, Eric Clapton, Peter Green...Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons and Duane Allman into what so many of us know as Rock. At least if you think of it from the south, east of Texas to the Atlantic and north through the mid-west to Chicago barriers of the torch.

Some traditional sounds and a twist from the crowd of young emerging Rock and Rollers...Rockers who to some extent fashioned a spin on the traditional sounds of the Blues and turned many of us on our ear to The Blues.

Of course there are more musicians then I could ever mention in a single page who has made Rock what it is today and yet the blues still prevails, stronger then ever.

The song 'Out There Somewhere' was a song I wrote, created in reminiscent thought about the old ways...if you listen to the song...the slide guitar, the open tuning...about a slower time but you know things never slow down, it is just a matter of where you live at as to the texture of the song the lyric...this particular lyric is a story about two old friends, not much said...playing something they both know...The Blues!

When I was very small I visited Arkansas...many things I have never forgot. The heat and humidity, the segregation of people in public places...and the way the whole environment seamed to drip and drag you like a wet towel across your shoulders...many things a six year old doesn't understand...except the different way in which this part of the country was from the home I knew in Washington State.

So in my musing as I started to say...what I decided to do is what all of my music hero's did all those years ago... ...I am going to take this Blues song that I created no so very long ago and make it a Rocker.

Now some would say 'No big thing' and carry on...but it is a big thing...Not the song or the fact that I wrote it...that only matters to me...but what is of value is the transcendence of the Blues to Rock.

Some might go on to think that I am just full of myself...and they would probably be right...usually musicians/players get together because of a common comradery....Today this means, the internet...this is the way my sharing has come full circle. Long gone are the day of glory playing with a group a friends, they have all gone away. But the song remains...

I spent a little time this afternoon conspiring how to Rock this track and I have come up with a plan...it will be different in sound then the original recording...will be full on electrified...in the vein of the old school...like the way some of our hero's of the old days would do to songs like 'Crossroads' and 'Someday After Awhile'.

Looking forward to sharing this with you...soon!

Out There Somewhere Written By: Burt K. Arthur/NorthernBandit 3/30/2013 Copyright Protected

Somewhere out there...off the beaten path The sun is shining brightly...through the fog and mist

And like two old souls Sittin on a poarch Playin some renditions Of songs not long ago

Same as the beginning...a time gone away Struggle with the facts now...the rules of the game

Try though as I might To set the course I seek Seems as though my destiny Is the life I keep

Oh how I love this life so...would not change a thing Sit here playin my Guitar...a soul that now is free

In my mind I see a lot of things Always wonderin why Is this all that life can be